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Vox Ace
1960s British solid body electric guitar

Two 1963 Vox Ace solid body electric guitars
Two early Vox Ace guitars, a 1962 and a 1963. Although on the surface these guitars look very similar, there are subtle differences; have a closer look at these guitars.

The Ace was in the Vox line from at least 1962; one of numerous solid body guitars produced in the United Kingdom by JMI. It had a model designation V-2-5 or V205. It was equipped with two pickups, initially chrome-covered Vox 1950s/60s single coil pickup (although briefly), then the typical Vox V1 units. Finally these were upgraded to white Vox V2 pickups with individual polepieces.

Early models are characterised by their long headstock (also seen on early Super Ace (three pickup model), Duotone (no tremolo) and Clubman models) but this neck was discontinued most likely by mid/late 1963.

Unlike the better known, and somewhat similar dual-pickup model, the Shadow, which was fitted with the Standard Vox Tremolo, the Ace was fitted with the Ace de Luxe Tremolo. The Ace was a higher end model than the Shadow, and it did have a better neck with a curved rosewood fingerboard, compared to the completely flat neck of the Shadow. It still had no adjustable truss rod though, and (early examples at least) still had a laminate wood body. Later models were made of an unspecified "lightweight hardwood", most likely mahogany or agba.

Vox Ace electric guitar - from the Vox "precision in sound" catalogue, 1964

This is how the Vox Ace was described in the 1964 Vox catalogue 'Precision in Sound'.

Specially selected lightweight hardwood body. Two six-pole pickups, volume control and separate flick-action tone change. Compensating bridge unit incorporated in smooth action tremolo unit. polished, reinforced neck, with rosewood fingerboard. Red, white or sunburst mirror finish.

Despite the description above, other colours were also shipped in small numbers beyond 1964, pale blue for example.

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1965 Vox Ace
1965 Vox Ace

The Vox Ace changed continually throughout the course of it's production; some changes are very subtle indeed, some very much more obvious; see some of these summarised below. Remember all dates are approximate.

  • 1961/62 Vox Ace specifications: pearl-effect scratchplate, Vox 1950s/60s single coil pickup, all screws have slotted heads. Body route suitable for one or two pickups only. Early Ace de Luxe tremolo units are unsprung; no body routing required. Cream and gold control knobs.
  • 1962/63: red finish standard, white single-ply as scratchplate standard, pickups changed to Vox V1 type, usually plain or with early-style (stretched) Vox font. Some scratchplates around this time have 9 screws instead of the standard 8. Typical white UK vox control knobs. Have a look at a late 1962 Vox Ace.
  • 1963 Vox Ace body Early 1963: Cross-head screws standard. Body routes have a wider bridge pickup route to accomodate an extra pickup (as used on the Ace de Luxe). Tremolos are now sprung, requiring a hole under the bridge (see image). Some instrumwnts fitted with black single-ply scratchplates. Have a look at a 1963 Vox Ace
  • Mid/late 1963: complete redesign with new body style, neck, and white Vox V2 pickups with exposed pole-pieces. Body is solid wood rather than laminate. Available in red, white and sunburst finishes. New headstock decals with separate 'Vox' and 'Ace' markings.
  • 1964/65: new thicker 3-ply (white-black-white) scratchplate, metal control knobs. Have a look at a 1965 Vox Ace

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